Looking back on the past...

7000 years before Christ, hunters became graziers, and realized that milk could solidify : the taste was different. Then, cheese was made all over the world. Thistle flowers and green fig juice were used by Romans as rennet. In many abbeys, the monks, who were clergymen as well as writers and graziers and cookers ... and jolly fellows, perfected the munster (munster comes from "monasterium", i.e. "monsastery") Saint Paulin and Maroilles ripening technique, which soon spread throughout European countries.

Soon moors, expelled from Poitiers by Charles Martel, halted in the Poitou region, in order to breed goat ("Chabli" in Arab, whence the names of two sorts of cheese derive : "chabis" and "chabichou"). Kings became passionately fond of cheese, and promoted it. The French word "fromage" has been used since 1180 , to replace the word "formage" (from the slang latin "Formaticus", i.e. "made in a mold"). In 1267, in the Doubs region, the very first "fruitieres" (the ancestor of dairy cooperatives) produced big wheels of cheese (Beaufort, Emmental, Comté). In the XIX° century, the dairy new-born dairy industry was thriving in France, and at the dawn of the XX° century, the first big factory opened in the east of the country...

In 1953, the Stresa Convention, ratified by France, Italy, Swiss, Austria, Scandinavia and Holland screened certain national sorts of cheese (Parmesan, Roquefort, Gorgonzola) from conterfeiting. Then in 1968, cheese was advertised on T.V. for the very first time (with Boursin), and in 1975, the first "guaranteed origin" label was attributed to Roquefort cheese.

You can get back to the French cheese's page.
Get advices about choosing cheese.
Feel free to send us your comments or suggestions
Go back to the Home page

Please report any ptoblem to webmaster@franceway.com